Friday, May 30, 2014

Increasing your resale value is easy when you save smartly

Investing in home improvements is a smart idea when you're thinking of putting your home on the market. So where is the best place to spend your money?

While it may be tempting to make cosmetic home improvements including decorating touches or fresh coats of paint, upgrading vital home systems such as heating and cooling can really pay off. In fact, making smart improvements can help you save money on your utility bills now, while increasing your home's value to potential buyers later on down the road.

Heating and cooling is one of a home's biggest costs, accounting for more than half the average home's utility costs, which means it makes good sense to make efficiency improvements that positively impact your budget every month. And for the long term, potential buyers want assurance that basic home systems, including heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical, are in working order before they buy.

* Heating and cooling: On average, you should consider replacing your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system every 10 years in order to take advantage of the latest energy-saving technologies and cost efficiencies. Replacing your old system with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of up to 20.00 can save you up to 60 percent on your annual cooling costs.
* Home automation: You can also stay ahead of the real estate curve and provide additional value for your home through the use of advanced home automation technology. This technology enables you to remotely manage multiple features and functions of your home including heating and cooling, as well as door looks, indoor and outdoor live video surveillance and storage, lights and shades, via any Web-enabled computer, smartphone or tablet.

* A programmable control: Another way to reduce energy consumption is to install a programmable HVAC control, which can save up to 15 percent compared to traditional non-programmable thermostats. These thermostats make it easier than ever to monitor the indoor and outdoor temperatures of your home. You can also monitor heating and cooling use over time, so you can manage energy and comfort even further.
* Home inspection, repair and advice: As you look ahead to warmer weather for making home improvements, remember that now is an ideal time to purchase a new home comfort system. A qualified HVAC dealer can perform an inspection, advise you on preventative maintenance and make recommendations on heating and cooling systems that best fit your home's needs. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

LED Landscape Lighting in Keller, Texas

 Adding outdoor lighting to a home can enhance a home's appearance and character at night as well as improve security and safety.  Most homeowners update the interior of their homes before turning to the exterior, but a tired exterior can create a negative first impression with visitors and detract from your enjoyment of your home.

Previous surveys have shown that homeowners add landscape lighting mainly because they want to upgrade their style and provide enjoyment for family and friends.  Others want to add space to entertain larger groups more comfortably.  Finally, homeowners know that an investment in landscape lighting will probably improve their property value.

Outdoor lighting can be an inexpensive way to increase appeal and safety.   When considering additions or changes to outdoor illumination, the advantages of LEDs for outdoor lighting are becoming more and more well-known to Keller, Southlake, and Grapevine homeowners:

  • LEDs last 25 times longer so there are fewer inconvenient and time-consuming bulb changes.  Some experts predict a bulb change might take 17 years;
  • LEDs are built to withstand harsh conditions and will stand up to our brutally hot summer temperatures;
  • LEDs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs; energy savings are impressive, especially with security lights that are lit from dusk to dawn;
  • LEDs have improved in lumen output and can produce brighter light than before;
  • LEDs are available in any color of light, so the blue effect that was associated with LEDs in the past can be corrected to produce the white or yellow light of incandescent or fluorescent lights;
  • LEDs can create any beam spread from 360 degrees to 100 or 30 degrees;
  • LEDs are a great choice for security lights because they are very bright, and many don't have a glass globe cover that is easy to dismantle by intruders.
The only obvious drawback to LED lighting is that the initial expense is much higher than for other bulbs.  However, the price of LED bulbs has been dropping by about 20% a year.  Consumers will find that a LED floodlight that cost about $85 three years ago can be purchased for about $19 currently. Various industry experts think that LEDs may cost only 10% of current prices by the end of 2015.

If you are considering adding to or creating new landscape lighting, be sure to check the wealth of options available using LEDs.

For information concerning improvements to you home that can affect your property values, check with an experienced member of the Grove Team.